This Sustainable Life

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092: Paternalism and pride: why fly to Africa to eek out minor efficiencies when we waste hundreds of times more?

Ep. 92

First world people pollute hundreds of times more than third world people yet the material prosperity doesn't translate to greater happiness.

We could reduce our waste by 75% while improving our quality of life, yet we claim we can't do it.

Yet we travel to the third world to change them!

Leaders are more effective when humble than proud. Paternalism rarely helps any relationships.

In this post I explore how we in the first world act with paternalism and pride to justify our extravagant, wasteful behavior, missing how we could learn from others.

More Episodes

10/16/2021

520: Blake Haxton, part 1: Paralympic victory and maybe the most important message I've heard on sustainability

Ep. 520
I learned of Blake through the mailing list of the maker of my rowing machine, Concept2. Their piece on him described him as a Paralympic bound athlete. I was impressed, but only thought of him as a potential guest on watching his TEDx talk.I think my message to his agent describes what I saw in him and when we talked about in this episode:In Blake's case, I heard a message I've never heard with such clarity and experience I wonder if he realizes how much it applies to stewardship and the environment. It's almost the exact message nearly everyone needs. I can't put it as well as he can, but what he shared starting around minute 3 of his TEDx talk of a system breaking down, where most people would be ready to give up, technology being important, but relationships, faith, support, and laughter being the core of what worked.I see roughly 350 million Americans and 7.9 billion humans ready to give in and accept a system breaking down. Then I see Blake living the opposite of their resignation leading to a better life, and there's been almost a decade since leading to what I read as yet more improvement.In my book coming out next year, I quote Churchill's speeches during the blitz -- that it's bad, it will get worse, but we will fight on the beaches, we will never surrender, it will be our finest hour. I heard in Blake's message from a decade ago what America and the world would benefit most from hearing today. I expect it's stronger today.Since he also just won a silver medal, I also ask him about the training and competing.Blake's TEDx talk, The Advantage of Adversity
10/11/2021

518: Killing cities, gardens, and parks, New York's cruel "Open Restaurants" overreach

Ep. 518
Don't outdoor restaurants sound nice? During the pandemic, New York City allowed restaurants that couldn't host people indoors to serve them outdoors. Many restaurant owners credit the rule for keeping them in business. We neighbors happily supported businesses in need.The landlords saw the huge profit in keeping this public space for their private property, started raising rents---profiting from a deadly pandemic---and tried to get politicians to give them that public land permanently.I might not mind if that space were coming from just car spaces, or if restaurants weren't polluting the area so much with plastic, burning fossil fuels to heat the outdoors while California is on fire, other packaging, and noise.There is a better alternative that no one thought of because we didn't know the city was willing to convert space from parking spaces and open sidewalk. We could turn it to living green spaces: community gardens, playgrounds, farmers markets, bike lanes, public pedestrian spaces, and such. There was already huge demand for such spaces. People wait years for plots in the tiny spaces we have. But search the web for "Manhattan community gardens" and you'll find almost nothing, especially around Greenwich Village.This program is already raising rents, making new restaurants harder to start. It helps a few individuals while hurting the industry it purports to help.Those who know New York City's history will see this land grab from the public on par with the failed Lower Manhattan Expressway. People organized to protect what became global destinations: Soho, Nolita, Tribeca, the Lower East Side.If you have influence with New York City politics, end this program of pollution and destruction.See images and videos I made of what Open Restaurants contributes to:https://joshuaspodek.com/another-morning-walk-seeing-litter-in-my-neighborhoodhttps://joshuaspodek.com/pride-destroyed-the-park-washington-square-park-after-a-parade (video and pictures)https://joshuaspodek.com/video-whats-wrong-with-new-york-city (video and pictures)